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Tuesday, July 5, 2022


Labor leaders have told Gov. Charles W. Turnbull "point blank" not to send the Prosser-V.I. land-for-tax-breaks agreement to the 23rd Legislature, the president of the Central Labor Council said Tuesday.
Labor leaders met Monday with Turnbull and unanimously rejected the deal as it now stands, said Luis "Tito" Morales.
"Up to now we have still not seen a complete package," Morales said. "The Daily News report had more in it than we have seen."
Morales and representatives of most of the territory's unions met with Turnbull and several of his advisers at Turnbull's request. But Morales said the labor leaders have never seen a complete package or analysis of the offering made by St. Croix businessman Jeffrey Prosser to the V.I. government.
Morales said the labor leaders told Turnbull they felt disrespected.
"How can a deal that hinges on our approval be negotiated without the involvement of the union leaders?" Morales asked. "We have asked that at least two members of labor — one from each district — be included in any
Morales said the deal "might be workable if we are allowed to sit down and negotiate with the administration and Prosser."
Morales speculated that "one of the governor's advisers has prevented us from getting a full package." When pressed for the name, Morales would only say "his financial adviser," an apparent reference to Rudolph Krigger, the governor's assistant for financial affairs and the leader of the government team that negotiated with Prosser.
When asked what labor would find acceptable, Morales said he couldn't comment until he saw a complete package, which he expects to see after Turnbull meets with senators Wednesday on the agreement.
"The governor told us we would see the complete package after his meeting with the Legislature," Morales said. "He told us he needs our blessing on the package."
No one at Government House could be reached Tuesday morning for comment.
The Daily News, which Prosser owns, announced April 1 that Prosser and the government had reached an agreement for Prosser to build several projects and donate 1,000 acres of land at Carambola, which Prosser is in the process of buying, to satisfy most of the government's $200 million debt to its employees for retroactive pay in exchange for 30 years of tax exemptions for Prosser's Innovative Communications Corp.
The Daily News estimated the value of those exemptions at $6 million a year, or $180 million.
Government House has not released any information on the agreement, other than to say it is still being negotiated.
ICC owns an estimated 10 businesses, including the V.I. Telephone Corp., both cable television firms, Vitelcom, VitelCellular, the V.I. Community Bank and the Daily News.

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